Obama’s Pot Problem

President Barack Obama has disappointed drug-reform advocates across the country since taking office as president, and nowhere do they feel more betrayed than in Colorado.

After holding the party convention in Denver and handily carrying this traditionally Republican state in 2008, Obama could be jeopardizing his reelection bid with a dismissive and even hostile approach to marijuana reform, a top issue for tens of thousands of local residents, including many of the activists who powered his last campaign.

Obama inspired hope with early signals on relaxing drug policy, including the October 2009 “Ogden memo” that said the U.S. would not prosecute in states that allow medical marijuana. In the past two years, however, the feds have targeted medical marijuana facilities with a record number of raids, putting Obama on course to surpass the previous high set by George W. Bush. In Colorado alone, 40 dispensaries — all in compliance with state and local law — have already been shut down this year.

The surprising about-face has inspired former supporters in Colorado to try to legalize the drug outright. They managed to get a proposition to that effect on the ballot this November, and while some are (not unreasonably) teasing the possibility that the initiative, Amendment 64, might help the president by bringing a younger, more liberal electorate out to the polls, there are also warning signs that many of these same voters won’t pull the lever for Obama in a crucial swing state.

“The element that nobody’s really talking about is what I call the Gary Johnson effect,” says Denver Democratic political consultant Rick Ridder.

Johnson, the former Republican governor of New Mexico running for president on the Libertarian ticket, has begun holding press conferences from medical marijuana dispensaries and assailing Obama for waging the war on drugs. When combined with the steady drip of news about the latest massive DEA raids on what many local Democrats consider legitimate small-business owners, his presence in Colorado is poised to cause some headaches for the White House as campaign season heats up.

– Read the entire article at Salon.com.

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  244. Anonymous on

    Obama will not reverse course if givin a second term. there was no reason to crack down with such a heavy hand in his first term. He has undone all the progress made on mmj legistlation in Wa. Ca. Co.
    and many other states. Hundreds of dispensaries have been shut down. these dispensaries and coop grows went up during Clinton and mostly the Bush administrations, only to be dismantled by the obama doj, which is fast becoming one of the most corrupt in history on all levels. Sorry to say but marijuana does not fit into his health care takeover. Big phama and big money has him all wrapped up.
    A vote for obama is a wasted vote! A vote for gary johnson is a vote that shows you care about your county and your freedom. Peace

  245. Anonydude on

    Yeah, he could(imagine that word in italics) do the right thing and get a lot of supporters back, but maybe he’s already lost too much trust, idk. He would have to make some big changes- if not total legalization to give me any confidence in him and he’d have to do it before November. How many votes would Mr. Johnson need to make a big enough splash in the pond to really be heard and taken seriously?

  246. gutrod on

    Funny how most politicians are mum on the topic including Obama. Taboo.
    Cannabis use didn’t seem to his career nor did it hurt the careers of many of the top minds in America & Canada. Cannabis prohibition is based on one of the largest lies in mankind history.
    Pure government propaganda. Are our voting citizens really that naive and dumb to believe the b.s. Apparently so. LoL

  247. Anonymous too on

    I’m with him on this one.

  248. Anonymous on

    obama and the democrats will not get re-elected, even hilary clinton said she will defect for she will shrivil up and die if she can’t push anyone around for the queen of england and her money she stole from the poor.